My dad just completed week 2 of the GAPS diet. I feel like we have all really accomplished something.
Basically with GAPS you are eating food that is gentle and easily digestible, along with adding lots of healthy probiotics into your system. It allows your gut time to rest and heal so that it can get back on track and on it's way to functioning properly. This is by no means an easy quick fix. This is a real option for permanent healing. It's also a big commitment. You have to stay on the diet for usually a couple of years to permanently heal your gut before you can start adding other foods back into your diet on a regular basis.
Basically many diseases and illnesses start within our gut. When there isn't a good balance of good and bad bacteria, the bad bacteria can take over and that's when things can really go awry. Without the good bacteria being able to do their job properly, not only can we get leaks and yeast overgrowth; nutrition, along with neurological information, isn't able to be sent to the right places. This includes our brain as well. Headaches, fogginess, fatigue, confusion, memory loss... Many of these issues are caused by toxins entering our body in one way or another and upsetting the balance. Mostly through diet, but also through environmental toxins as well. For example, studies show that people that live closer to industrial power plants have a greater risk of autism. Obviously, this is very simplified. It's unbelievable how much is going on down there and how much can be messed up when our gut isn't in balance.
GAPS not only can heal problems like my dads, it can also heal mental disorders, like bipolarism and schizophrenia. GAPS can heal autism. Now I am not doctor, and I realize this diet won't always fix everything, but I have read the research and I have read blog after blog, story after story of people finding relief and reprieve from their disorders. It's absolutely amazing what this diet has done for so many people, who feared they were dealing with a permanent problem.
The last two weeks have been busy to say the least. Relentless might be a better word. Each day is a race with the clock to try to get everything I need to get done before bed time. It's not a tentative list either, these things had to be done. We had to make lots of chicken and beef broth, boiled chicken and chuck roast. He could only have boiled meats and soft cooked veggies, but nothing to fibrous. Everything needs to be all natural, organic from healthy, and properly fed animals. We slowly added in egg yolks, then whole eggs, avocados, coconut oil and ghee. He can have fresh herbs but no spices in the beginning, we'll add them once he is out of the introduction phase and into the full GAPS diet.
He cannot have lactose, so we have to cook out the lactose in butter to make ghee. Ghee is basically clarified butter. You start with butter, cook it in the oven at about 250 degrees for around 2 hours until the milk proteins fall to the bottom and rise to the top.
You skim off the foam on the top and strain the milk protein out.
The golden liquid left over is ghee. You can store it in your pantry and it lasts for months. I prefer to keep it in the fridge though.
Then we needed to make whey to add more probiotics to his food. Luckily I was already used to making this and always keep it on hand. Now I am making it more often for sure. Start with homemade yogurt or a high quality plain whole milk organic commercial yogurt. Drain it over a mesh strainer, lined with a cheese cloth over night.
In the morning, I tie up the cheesecloth and hang it from my wine glass rack to let the rest of the whey drip out.
By the time I get home from work, I have some "cream cheese" and whey. Ever hear the term "curds and whey", well this is kinda where it came from. I love adding whey to smoothies too!
I have been fermenting vegetables! I have really been interested in doing this but never have. It's really important to make fermented veggies and drink the juice added to food and broth and then soon he will be adding the vegetables themselves to his diet as well. The sit in some salted, filtered water with some added whey for about a week in the pantry at room temperature. They will last for months in the fridge.
It's no wonder families and communities worked together back in the olden days. This stuff takes time!!
I'm not gonna lie... the past two weeks have been hard. I have been pretty exhausted and maybe even a tiny bit overwhelmed. With my lack of sleep, and my immune system being down, I even caught some sort of bug at the end of last week. I had a really hard time sleeping Friday night and by the time I woke up my throat was not right. It was so sore, it hurt to swallow, I even worried for a minute if I had strep throat. So Saturday, I got plenty of rest, drank lots of salty homemade chicken broth (luckily we had plenty on hand!) and herbal teas and I was almost 100% again by Sunday! Which was good because I was hosting Easter at my house for my whole family. And today I am back to normal. Spending extra time with my dad yesterday really re-fueled me as well. He's doing so good. Our efforts are really paying off, which is making all of this so worth it!
He looked great. His color has returned to his skin and his eyes were back to his super blue color. He has lost almost 30 lbs! Most of it was during the first week when he was on a mostly liquids diet. He has flushed alot of "stuff" out of his system too. His blood pressure is better then it has been in over 10 years! Before the diet, he got headaches every day... he hasn't had any since we started him on the diet. He is feeling better both physically and emotionally. I can't wait to see him get better and better. He can't believe how much this has done for him already and he is "a true believer now", which is what he told me on Easter.
I was only scratching the surface on how important food was to our health. Now after helping my dad do the GAPS diet and seeing how amazing things have been and how much has turned around in only 2 weeks it has really made a huge impact on me. His doctor wanted to put him in the hospital and remove part of his colon! I am happy to say that everything is still in tact.
I am so excited to see the progress it will make for him down the road as well!
Here's a pic of me and my dad, taken on Easter.
Things are starting to get easier already. We are figuring things out and my mom is cooking more stuff too now. We are going to start doing more stuff on the weekends to get him through the week and that will help out alot as well. It all happened so fast and we didn't have much of a game plan in the beginning, but we are getting the hang of it and it will only get easier from here.
Even if it didn't though... he's getting better... and that makes it worth it right there!!
The post is part of Food Renegade's Fight Back Friday and the Healthy Home Economist's Monday Mania.